Problem

The Green-Field Home at Lambs Farm houses 16 elder residents with developmental disabilities. Each resident is given a locker to store and secure their snack food, but many residents struggle to identify their lockers and use the lockers’ traditional lock and key system.

Solution

The old cabinet lockers in use at Lambs Farm.

The student team designed an RFID (radio frequency identification) controlled locker that is easier for the residents to use than a standard lock and key. In addition, this system identifies the residents’ lockers for them by automatically opening their locker door. 

Development Process

  1. From user observation, the student team noticed that the residents of Lambs Farm needed an easier way to identify and open their lockers.  
  2. The team brainstormed ways to help the residents to identify their lockers and open their secure locks. The team made mockups of potential designs.  
  3. They tested the designs with residents of Lambs Farm. Although most designs did not fit the residents’ needs, the students gained valuable insight.
  4. The students determined that an RFID controlled lock for the lockers would be better than a modified physical key. An RFID lock would require little dexterity and would enable a resident to open his or her locker without having to identify it first.
  5. The team built a small scale prototype that uses the RFID reader to open two lockers. A full-scale 16 locker prototype is in development.